Social Need: In Albania, seniors represent about 9% of the population and are expected to rise to 15% by 2020. Despite the fact that the number of licensed services for senior homes has increased by 30%, there are still 120 annual filed requests for residential services that cannot be met. In addition, a significant number of young Albanian professionals who graduate from nursing and social work schools are not able to find employment.
Seniors’ House Social Business: The Seniors House offers high quality services to promote independence, dignity and quality of life for the elderly in Albania, while adjusting the social and health care to the needs of its customers. The residential service provides accommodation, food, daily activities, entertainment, physical therapy, and medical assistance. The day-care center offers a combination of social, educational and health activities that help to reduce the risk of isolation or depression among the elderly. The business also offers at-home services, for personalized care where people live. The Senior House represents a great opportunity in terms of employment and training for young professionals who are searching for jobs in Albania in the fields of social work and health care.
The Entrepreneur: The management team of three entrepreneurs brings in solid general business management experience, and specific field expertise in the area of public health and social services. The CEO, Daklea Xinxo has been successfully managing a kindergarten for the last 5 years and was previously Director of Human Service Directorate at Tirana municipality, Chairwoman at the Albanian Adoptions Committee and Director of Children’s Home (an orphanage).
Social Need: Albania is the most agriculture-oriented country in the Balkans with 55% of the population living in rural areas, employed in agricultural activities. 20% of GDP of the country is generated through agriculture. Albanian farmers face a series of challenges, including small farm sizes, land fragmentation and scarce access to markets. They only receive inefficient advisory services, as there is no active cooperative for small farmers.
Food Made in Albania Social Business: Albanian agricultural products have a good reputation in the country, especially apples, olives, pomegranates, nuts, goat milk, figs and olives. Delico. aims at reestablishing the quality-appeal of local agricultural products by processing high-quality products. It will start by sourcing fruits from smallholder farmers, process them into high-quality jams under DIN standards and distribute it to restaurants and hotels initially, further expanding to other clients in the future. It will help remote smallholder farmers to increase their incomes by providing access to markets and improving productivity through trainings and assistance
SB Entrepreneur: The founder Dashamir Elezi has been a successful entrepreneur for the last 20 years, a well-known fine food expert and serial entrepreneur, who will leverage his existing logistics infrastructure and sales network to acquire first clients in the B2B sector. Among other, Dashamir runs Depurcasa, a company which imports and distributes cleaning products to hotels, restaurants and food industries in Albania. He is also co-owner of a restaurant in Tirana which ethnic Albanian food.
Saint George Valley, Organic Farming Social Business, Shëngjergj village, Tirana
Social Need: There are many issues and needs in the Albanian rural areas specifically in Shengjergj where the unemployment rate is extremely high (35%), families are poor and their lands are empty as they cannot afford to plant anything that will actually give them an income. 250 different plant species are harvested for medicinal and aromatic use in Albania. More than 50% of all sage imported by the USA comes from Albania, as well as 70% of all the wild thyme imported in Germany. Wild-harvesting of medicinal and aromatic plants accounted for 90% of the country’s herbal plants sourcing; but soil erosion and irresponsible harvesting have drastically reduced the quantities available and traceability is becoming impossible.
The geo-climatic conditions of Albania favor a huge biodiversity of herbs. The farm will produce sustainably-grown organic herbs for local and international traders and processors of essential oils. It will also own a seedling nursery to ensure quality of input, rent plots from farmers and employ them for all works related to land preparation, planting, harvesting, and providing them with a source of income. Being organic-certified, it will open markets locally and internationally.
SB Entrepreneur: The management team has successfully been running an essential oils distillery since 2011 and is bringing agronomy skills and market knowledge in the social business. The farm already had its first harvest and a secured a stable client.
Martin Schössler, Managing Partner of CAUSA, a consulting company for most of the major DAX companies in Germany will be joining our accelerator program as an expert. CAUSA provides advice on growth strategies and investments. He is also a business angel for multiple young companies in the Frankfurt and Berlin areas. He previously held senior positions at the consulting company Frost & Sullivan and the leading magazine “The Economist” in London and Frankfurt.
He studied philosophy and economics, history and English philology at the University of Heidelberg and journalism at the American University in Washington D.C. He is a fellow of the German Marshall Fund and member of the German-British Society, the Clausewitz-Society and the Global Innovation Network. He is also a “Young Strategist” at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
Martin joins the accelerator program as an expert in positioning and go-to-market strategies. His experience in supporting young startups is extremely valuable to entrepreneurs who are just getting started. His track record of successfully growing businesses will benefit those social businesses that need to scale their existing operations.
YSB Albania is dedicated to provide valuable expertise to the participants of its accelerator program in Tirana. While theory and conceptual work are important to build the basis of entrepreneurial know-how, insights from practitioners are at least equally important. We are proud to provide the participants of our program the unique opportunity to learn from first-hand experiences of entrepreneurs, strategists and product developers who have proven to be successful in their work. A total of 12 international experts will be providing insights during our training sessions via virtual addresses.
We will be introducing those experts one by one over the course of the following weeks and start with Martin Schössler, Managing Director of the consulting company CAUSA, business angels to multiple young companies and contributing member of multiple renowned associations.
In a great event at Tirana International on April 23rd 2014, the winners of the HapIde Idea Contest were selected and announced. Out of over 200 submissions in less than a month, 20 selected ideas were presented in front of a renowned jury of entrepreneurs, business professionals, development experts and academics. The pitch day was an exciting culmination of the activities on hapide.com. We congratulate each participant for their creativity and courage to send in their ideas and have them challenged in front of experts. The 10 best cases will now enter the YSB Acceleration program which is to start in May 2014 and supports entrepreneurs with training, coaching and mentoring until the most promissing candidates will receive financial support from Yunus Social Business Albania. Stay tuned for more information on the accelerator program soon! Thanks to the jury members and UNDP for making this happen!
Muhammad Yunus and the Prime Minister of Albania meet and speak about social business in Albania; The government announces own investment into Yunus Social Business Fund, as well as measures to encourage private-sector investment into Social Business Funds. On 22nd January 2013, Prof. Muhammad Yunus was guest of honor at Albania Social Business Day. Prof. Yunus spoke about his life experiences in creating social businesses, and his belief in the opportunities that social businesses brings to solve social and environmental issues in situations in which government action, charity and profit-maximizing business cannot. He expressed his gratitude to Albania that it was showing such commitment to implementing and pioneering the social business approach: it would become a beacon for the rest of the world.
Also attending were the Prime Minister of Albania, H.E. Sali Berisha, as well as several other distinguished members of the government, including the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Mr. Spiro Ksera, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Ridvan Bode; the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Genc Ruli; and the Minister of Education, Mr. Myqerem Tafaj. Prime Minister Berisha emphasized his governement’s commitment to the cause of social business, and his own personal conviction that social business could generate great positive change in Albania. He announced that the government would invest into the Yunus Social Business Fund, and also promised a new law to provide dividend-tax relief on private-sector companies which invest into Social Business Funds.
Visit by Muhammad Yunus to women’s handicraft workshops in Shkodra, Albania; investment in Rozafa handicraft marketing social business announced. On 21st January 2013, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Prof. Muhammad Yunus started his three-day visit to Albania by meeting women from two handicraft workshops in the northern Shkodra region. The first handcraft workshop was in Zogaj village, and the other was located in the city center.
The workshops supply Rozafa handicraft marketing social business, in which Prof. Yunus announced a new investment from the Yunus Social Business Fund Albania.
Prof. Yunus declared that “in many countries, the real producers are exploited, they work a lot, have skills, but they receive little money; middle-men take all the profit. Rozafa social business will help these women find the most popular designs and will get them the best price in the international market”.
Rozafa social business coordinates marketing, sales, quality-control and logistics for 15 workshops around Albania that mainly employ rural women. The workshops provide income and stable employment to over 100 otherwise unemployed women.
As well as investing in Rozafa, YSB is helping it develop a more sophisticated branding and marketing strategy, as well as a stronger product range, in order to compete in the high-end textile and home-furnishings markets of Western Europe.
Yunus Social Business Albania in cooperation “Nxitja e Biznesit Social, with the support of the Government of Albania and various national and international organizations, have launched Social Business Plan Competition, that would run from November 2012 through March 2013.It aims to promote sustainable social business initiatives and provide a platform for catalyzing new social business ventures that would sustainably tackle a wide range of social and environmental problems in various sectors. Provide a platform for transforming social business ideas into positive real impact enterprises; Catalyze new sustainable social business ventures and foster sustainability of existing social business initiatives that address significant social/environmental issues, are innovative and replicable; Inspire people by showing that they can make a difference and provide a platform for social entrepreneurs to interact and to follow up on their social business ideas.
The competition is open to individuals, teams and organizations of all kinds, anywhere in Albania, in any business sector that tackled on a business way one or more social and/or environmental problems related to any of the social groups of the Albanian society. The social business initiative for which a business plan may be submitted for competition could fall under one of the following categories:
- A new social business initiative that is proposed for start-up;
- A social business initiative that has already started and is proposed to be up-scaled.
How it works?
31st October – 22nd of December 2012/ Submission of social business plans. The deadline for submission of business plans is 22nd of December 2012. Business plans should be submitted to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
22nd of January 2013/ Finalists in each of the two categories will be announced in January 2013. They will be coached and supported by business consultants and industry experts during January – February 2013, including personal, face-to-face advice from Nobel Peace Laureate, Prof. Muhammad Yunus. At the end of this phase, a pool of best finalists from both categories (“new initiatives” and “existing social businesses initiatives”) will be selected to receive seed funding to start testing their social business idea.
23rd of January – 23rd of February 2013/ Coaching and technical assistance will be provided to finalists to expand and improve their initial social business plan.
April 2013/ Seed funding will be granted to the best plans. Finalists in the “existing social business initiative” category will use the seed funding to evaluate the growth potential of their social businesses. Finalists in the “new social business initiative” category will employ seed funding to test their ideas as real social businesses.
May 2013/ Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Tirana. All finalists will have the opportunity to showcase their social business idea on a TV program. Winners will receive investment for their plans as well as office space and incubation services from Yunus Social Business Albania.
On 22nd January 2013, Prof. Muhammad Yunus was awarded an Honoris Causa by the European University of Tirana in Albania, for his outstanding contribution to poverty reduction in the world through his development and implementation of microfinance as well as for his pioneering work in the field of social business.
In accepting his award, Prof. Yunus urged young people to imagine the seemingly impossible and never think that a problem cannot be solved, since only by imagining that something can be done, does one even begin to attempt to achieve it. “That’s the human spirit!”, urged Prof. Yunus.
Yunus Social Business Albania, in collaboration with Nxitja e Biznesit Social sh.a organized the first National Conference on social business: “Social Business Movement of Albania”, on May 30th. The conference gathered together about 170 people, across different groups of development actors, including entrepreneurs, public institutions, businesses, Ngo’s, professors and young people. The conference was an enthusiastic starting point to introduce the concept of social business and be inspired by international and Albanian social business cases presented during the conference. The event was opened by Prime Minister Sali Berisha. P.M Sali Berisha said that “Government will do everything to support social business and Yunus Social Business Albania, to inspire social businesses and extend the microcredit system wherever there is a big need by the citizens”.
Saskia Bruysten, Ceo of Yunus Social Business, spoke about the concept of social business and how it works, which was followed by Alexis Rawlinson, Director of the Programme for Albania, introducing successful international cases. Shkelzen Marku, Country Director of Albania and Ardita Bonatti, Executive Director of Nxitja e Biznesit Social sh.a, presented together for all participants the programme for Albania, its implementation and ways to get involved in the social business movement.
Seven aspiring and potential social business initiatives, which are being supported by Yunus Social Business Albania, presented their social business cases, respectively on Handicrafts (Rozafa Foundation), Bagels-creating jobs for victims of trafficking (D&E NGO), YAPS (UNICEF’s Initiative to create jobs for young people), Waste Management (Rromani Baxt), Milk collection and processing (Mrizi i Zanave), Vocational Training and Employment Agency (Useful to Albanian Women), ending with an inspiring young creative social entrepreneur with lot of social business ideas, Ened Mato. The second part of the day continued with an interactive session on social business, followed by seven different breakout sessions, where the participants were working together on social business plans and developing great ideas on real Albanian social business cases. Finally, the groups came together again and presented the results of each mini-lab.
Yunus Social Business Albania in collaboration with Promoting Social Business organized different events in big university cities to present his Social Business concept, and at the same time tried to inspire and generate social business ideas. Yunus Social Business Albania in collaboration with Promoting Social Business organized different events in big university cities to present his Social Business concept, and at the same time tried to inspire and generate social business ideas. From 31st of October to December, the Tour offered information and encouraged the sustainable initiatives of social enterprises in many university cities such as Shkodra, Elbasan, Korca, Tirana and will continue with Vlora and Gjirokaster. During these events was presented the “Social Business Plan Competition”, a competition launched to inspire and catalyze new sustainable social business ventures and foster sustainability of existing social business initiatives.
The launch of the competition was held at the University “: Luigj Gurakuqi”, Shkoder, on 31st October 2012, with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Labor, Social Issues and Equal Opportunities, Yunus – Social Business in Albania, Promoting Social Business, teachers and students “Luigj Gurakuqi” University, local authorities of Shkodra, UN One, AIDA, civil society and businesses. This activity was followed later by presenting events organized in Elbasan, Korca, Tirana and ongoing activities will be held in Gjirokastra, Vlora and Tirana again, considering the high number of students. The competition is open to all individuals, groups and organizations, anywhere in Albania, including any sector. Semi-finalists will be announced in January 2013, and winners will be announced in March 2013.